by: William Shakespeare

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Wherein the toged consuls can propose
As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th' election
And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
30At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds
Christian and heathen, must be belee’d and calmed
By debitor and creditor. This counter-caster
He (in good time) must his lieutenant be
And I, bless the mark, his Moorship’s ancient.
which any peace-lover can do. His military understanding is all theory, no practice. But Cassio’s been chosen over me. My career is cut short by some bookkeeper, even though the general saw my fighting skills first-hand in Rhodes and Cyprus. This accountant is now lieutenant, while I end up as the


Moor = North African

35By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
By God, I’d rather be his executioner.
Why, there’s no remedy. 'Tis the curse of service.
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to th' first. Now sir, be judge yourself,
40Whether I in any just term am affined
To love the Moor.
And there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s the curse of military service. You get promoted when someone likes you, not because you’re next in line. Now, you tell me: should I feel loyal to the Moor?
I would not follow him then.
If you don’t like him you should quit.
O sir, content you.
I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
45We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
That (doting on his own obsequious bondage)
Wears out his time much like his master’s ass
50For naught but provender, and when he’s old, cashiered.
Whip me such honest knaves. Others there are
Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty,
Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
55Do well thrive by them. And when they have lined their coats,
Do themselves homage. These fellows have some soul,
No, calm down. I’m serving under him to take advantage of him. We can’t all be masters, and not all masters should be followed. Look at all the devoted servants who work for their masters their whole lives for nothing but their food, and then when they get old they’re terminated. They ought to be whipped for being so stupid. But then there’s another kind of servant who looks dutiful and devoted, but who’s really looking out for himself. By pretending to serve their lords, these men get rich, and when they’ve saved up enough they can be their own masters. Guys like that have soul, and that’s the kind of guy I am. Let me tell